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Quinntessential: Providing an alternative for final exams

It’s December in Athens, which means that it’s now socially acceptable to sip on some hot chocolate while listening to Mariah Carey sing her heart out. While that sounds jolly and fun, it comes with the looming dread of finals week. 

I find it weird that we as students are just expected to accept the fact that almost every class we take must have a big final exam that makes or breaks our grades. Most of us aren’t straight-A students, so these exams can’t be taken lightly. The last thing anyone wants is to explain to their parents that they need to retake a class because they failed a final.

Some people aren’t great test takers, and it doesn’t help when the test could alter their college career in such a dramatic fashion. One test, no matter how big, should not hold so much power. 

I was once hopeless in thinking that there was no way around cramming all of the week before finals for my classes, until I took Philosophy 1200, “Principles of Reasoning."

This class is unlike anything I’ve ever taken before. First of all, the professor prohibits the use of any electronic devices (to my chagrin). The professor also utilizes a chalkboard as his means of writing information down. I’ve never seen a chalkboard used in a class, let alone someone using it unironically. It’s not like the chalkboard is the only means of writing stuff down in the room, as there is a projector in the room that could be used to the same effect if not greater. 

If this class didn’t sound like it was trapped in time yet, one final caveat this professor includes in his class is that every grade in the class will come in the form of pop quizzes. 

The reason I bring up this particular class is because there is no big final exam in the class. There are many pop quizzes, but they are at most four questions long. While there have been 19 up to this point, I find it much more manageable than having a huge final test.

If one were forced to pick between the class I just described and a class that is what the university expects us to take, I’m led to believe that at least some would take the former. 

I’m not proclaiming that we abolish all final exams. For some classes, it may be a necessity to recap what was learned. However, I do feel that it isn’t necessary for every class we take to include a final exam.

The example I gave above does not have to be the only workaround for final exams, and I’m positive there are a plethora of better solutions to this issue. We don’t study for all of our classes the same way, so why would we take finals the same way?

Quinn Elfers is a freshman studying journalism at Ohio University. Please note that the views and opinions of the columnists do not reflect those of The Post. Want to share your thoughts about the column? Let Quinn know by emailing him at

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